MTBing comes home at Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience

Seen here:  Husband and wife duo Sebastian and Laura Stark (Germany) claimed gold in the men’s and women’s Marathon (50 – 60km) at the 7th annual Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience.

Photo Credit:  Tobias Ginsberg

SA’s “MTB Party” of the year, the Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience, closed off on a high note on Sunday 01 December 2019 with mountain bikers being treated to a spectacular 50 – 60km route (Marathon) or 28 – 30km route (Half Marathon), experiencing the best routes on offer in Stellenbosch before crossing the finish line at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate.

Husband and wife duo Sebastian and Laura Stark (Germany) claimed gold in the men’s and women’s Marathon (50 – 60km) at the 7th annual Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience.

Sebastian completed the two days of riding in a combined time of 04 hours 32 minutes 58 seconds.  “My wife took part last year.  She told me that I had to do it this year.  It’s great to see all the trails.  We live in Cape Town temporarily, but we don’t make it to Stellenbosch very often.  It’s a very good chance to see all the trails.  I would definitely recommend this event to my friends.  It’s the best trails in one event.  It’s really very nice.”  Frans Claes came in 2nd, while Matthew Lochner finished 3rd.

Laura completed the two stages of the Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience Marathon (50 – 60km) in a combined time of 05 hours 23 minutes 08 seconds.

According to Laura, she suffered more during Stage Two as temperatures were much higher.  “This stage had a lot of new trails.  I didn’t know most of the trails except for G-Spot (referring to an infamous section on route).  It was great.  I especially enjoyed the section through the forest. It was really nice.  The two days were amazing.  It’s definitely better than last year.  I really enjoyed riding it.”  Nicole Schafer came in 2nd, while Lehane Oosthuizen finished 3rd.

Luca Ruwiel successfully defended his title in the Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience Half Marathon (28 – 30km) completing the two stages in a combined time of 02 hours 49 minutes 51 seconds.  “Stage Two had quite a lot of jeep track and there weren’t a lot of climbs.  There was nowhere really to breakaway.  I managed to pull in the one section.  We had to go under a bridge with water, we came in way too fast and I went over the bar.  Now I am all wet, but I am still winning so it’s good.  I like this event.  It’s a good way to open the season.  A hat-trick is something that I’d like to do, so yes I’ll be back next year.  I might even enter the Marathon.”  Henning Venter came in 2nd, while Juan Erasmus finished 3rd.

The Women’s Half Marathon (28 – 30km) was won by Nienke Mostert in a combined time of 03:39:08, Cecile Coetzee came in 2nd, while Lynne Vermeulen finished 3rd.

Dakar Rally star, Giniel de Villiers is a local at the Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience, never missing an event and residing in Stellenbosch.  “I live 1km from Blaauwklippen Wine Estate.  It’s a no-brainer riding here, we’ve got such nice tracks.  It’s part of my training, I’m getting fit for Dakar.  The two stages worked really well.  In my opinion this was the best two stages in terms of single track combination, climbs and technical sections.”

“The Savanna Origin Of Trails MTB Experience reminds mountain bikers why they ride,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director Stillwater Sport.  “An individual 2-day MTB Experience, instead of racing, entrants are encouraged to savour the moment.  This year they got to do so with Savanna as the title sponsor.  We cannot think of a better fit.  Mountain bikers got to experience a vast network of world class trails while celebrating the origin of SA mountain biking.”

“Unapologetically bold, Savanna is proud to be the title sponsor of SA’s MTB Party of the year,” says Kavir Gangiah, Media, Sponsorship and Events Manager Distell Southern Africa.  “Savanna launched a category breaking new innovation in 2019, the first non-alcoholic cider in the SA market.  Riders were proudly treated to an ice cold Savanna Non-Alcoholic Lemon in the Chill Area once they had crossed the finish line.  We thoroughly enjoyed our first year as title sponsor and are excited to see what the 2020 event holds in store.”

Win with SpecializedGrantham Briesies was the lucky winner of a spectacular Specialized Epic Comp EVO mountain bike to the value of R49 000!  His video shared during Stage One proved to Specialized that he deserved to win!

CHARITY SUPPORTThe Savanna Origin of Trails proudly supports the:  1. Urban Caracal Project, 2. Aitsa After Care Centre and the 3. Stellenbosch Trail Fund.

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For more information on the Savanna Origin of Trails MTB Experience and/or Trail Run please contact Stillwater Sports on 082 991 0045, email or visit


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